A 34-year-old Los Angeles County man who died shortly after testing positive for COVID-19 had traveled to Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando in early March, reports say.
On Saturday, Jeffrey Ghazarian’s sister Lauren posted on his Facebook page, saying he had “tested positive for coronavirus yesterday and was admitted to the ICU early this morning. He has pneumonia and his lungs are blocked so they’ve decided the best path forward is to intubate.”
Ghazarian’s family spoke to TMZ and said he flew from Los Angeles to Orlando on March 2 for a work conference, but stayed a few extra days to visit Disney World and Universal theme parks with friends before returning on March 9. Before flying back, he developed a cough and was coughing up blood.
Reached by telephone, Alison Ghazarian Fleming, another family member, confirmed Thursday that Ghazarian had died but declined to comment further. She said TMZ had misrepresented the truth, but did not specify how.
Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando closed their Florida parks on March 15 due to concerns about the coronavirus. They will be closed for the rest of March.
Universal Orlando Resort said Thursday, “Our thoughts are with this gentleman and his family. As is always the case — we will take our guidance from local health officials.”
A Disney spokesperson said in a statement, “We offer our deepest condolences to the family of Mr. Ghazarian. We continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and remain in regular contact with health agencies for information and guidance.”
The Florida Department of Health did not respond to requests for comment about Ghazarian’s travels to Florida, and the California Department of Public Health said it could not provide any details due to patient confidentiality.
On Thursday, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health announced that the second death in the county was a man between 30 and 50 years old who lived in a small community near Pasadena, KTLA 5 reported.
Ghazarian was diagnosed with testicular cancer in early 2016, according to GoFundMe and Facebook posts.
Lauren, his sister, posted daily updates on her brother’s battle with COVID-19.
On Saturday, she said he was in stable condition taking antibiotics and on a ventilator. He started on antiviral medication later that day.
On Sunday, his oxygen levels dropped and doctors initiated a protocol for acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). He later stabilized.
On Monday, an infectious disease medical doctor approved him to be put on Remdesivir IV, “an antiviral that is used for Ebola and is showing a good response for other coronavirus patients,” one post said.
On Tuesday, the family finally received the antiviral drug, but on Wednesday his oxygen needs began fluctuating.
On Thursday, a final post read:
“Our sweet, loving, fun Jeffrey went to be with Jesus this morning. He suffered a lot and put up a good fight. We will miss our Jeff everyday but we are thankful for all the fun happy memories of the times we had together. Thank you to everyone who has been praying. We love you all.”